Core Module Information
Module title: American Outlaws: Modern American writing

SCQF level: 08:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: CLP08117
Module leader: Scott Lyall
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Media and Humanities

Any SCQF 7 module in literature, film, photography, cultural studies, sociology or psychology.

Description of module content:

We have come to imagine the United States of America as central to Western power, capitalism and cultural imperialism. Yet some notable American writers of the past century rebelled against many of the hegemonic norms central to a traditional reading of American society and identity; indeed, they attempted to subvert the American Dream itself.

This module will examine the challenges to convention, capitalism, white power, and established morality in modern American writing throughout the course of the twentieth century. The module will analyse representative short stories in twentieth-century American writing, particularly looking at the influence of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio on subsequent American and world literature; study American Modernism in the shape of Gertrude Stein’s work, and exilic American writing of the 1930s, focussing on the controversial sexual politics of Henry Miller; look broadly at the Harlem Renaissance, especially in the work of Zora Neale Hurston; examine the Southern Gothic in Carson McCullers’s The Ballad of the Sad Café; study the influential Beat movement through the lens of Jack Kerouac’s highly popular novel On the Road; and conclude by reading Bret Easton Ellis’s novel American Psycho as modern American political satire.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to:
LO1: articulate a well-argued understanding of the diverse nature of twentieth-century American writing
LO2: understand modern American writing in its historical and cultural contexts
LO3: undertake critical analysis of particular texts relating to America in their cultural, theoretical, national and international contexts
LO4: explain the importance of the concept of the outlaw in modern American writing
LO5: evaluate the formal development of writing in America from modernism to postmodernism

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2020/1, Trimester 2, Face-to-Face, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 002
Primary mode of delivery: Face-to-Face
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Scott Lyall
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
One-hour weekly tutorials/seminars will give students the opportunity to discuss issues in depth related to the development of wrting in twentieth-century American that are introduced and explored through the weekly lectures. The emphasis will be on independent learning, reading and scholarship as well as in-class discussion. (LOs 1,2,3,4,5). These seminar sessions will mirror the lecture series and will provide a medium for student-centred learning (LOs 1,2,3,4,5). Students will develop their theoretical knowledge of modern writing in America and apply this knowledge to the preparation of assignments and weekly tutorial questions.

Formative Assessment:
Weekly tutorial discussion, both in groups and at whole class level, will provide formative ideas that can be applied in the summative assignments. (Such discussions also take place in the interactive lecture slots.) In particular, the lecturer provides questions as discussion topics that both allow discussion around lecture themes and feed into summative essay questions (LOs 2,3,4). Students need to complete these questions in conversation with their peers, or alone if they would prefer.

Summative Assessment:
Students will undertake two summative assessments during the module. Firstly, completion of an essay (40%) in week 7, on aspects of a particular text chosen by the student from a shortlist of questions (LOs 2,3,4). The second assignment will take the form of a longer essay (60%) in week 13 in which the student will undertake a study of a particular theoretical and/or cultural issue with reference to a range of texts and readings (LOs 1,2,3,4,5). The topic will be chosen by the student from a shortlist.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Tutorial 10
Face To Face Lecture 20
Independent Learning Guided independent study 170
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Essay 40 2-4 7 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 1500
Essay 60 1-5 14 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 2000
Component 1 subtotal: 40
Component 2 subtotal: 60
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
CLP08117 American Outlaws: Modern American writing